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Bella 12

Boat classification is a daunting area of study. Just ask L. Francis about the proper definition for a yawl boat or a cutter. In differentiating between a dinghy, a tender, and a skiff, it’s incredibly easy to get turned around a couple times. To compound this, the definitions are sometimes regional! I’ve distilled my own interpretation and then drank to it with a nice cigar, thank you very much. This boat is a skiff, and to Davy Jones and the Kraken for those who would argue with the designer!

What matters more than the type of vessel this handy little craft is called, are what she is intended for and how efficiently she does her job. So many ponds and quays these days are rife with oar-powered craft that are no more suitable for a person to row than for a person to try and sail a 30 foot cigarette boat. These Jon boats and aluminum skiffs are an offense to the art of rowing and to those captaining them even more so. What I have strived for in the Bella 12 is a boat that will row nicely with one or two aboard, yet be able to accept a very small outboard for those longer trips. Instead of a dead flat run aft, the buttocks sweep up gracefully into a shape that is far more easily driven by oars. I recommend going no larger than a 2.5hp outboard – she’ll simply squat with more – and an even better option would be for a small electric motor on her stern.

Many would likely be surprised at the smart clip she will show with even so small a motor; this is where the shape of this boat shines. No, she won’t jump onto a plane – we have other boats for that. If one is looking for a little skiff that’s a true pleasure to row, as well as the versatility afforded by the option of an outboard, the Bella 12 is the sensible choice. — Sam Devlin

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The Devlin Bella 12 is available in study and construction plans.

Bella 12 Specifications

Length 11 ft. – 7.25 in.
Beam 3 ft. – 9.75 in.
Draft 6.5 in.
Power Oars, Outboard, 2.5 hp max
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